NBA Trade Rumors: Jeremy Lin Could Thrive On These NBA Teams If Traded by Houston Rockets
- Jean-Paul Salamanca
- Dec 23, 2013 07:37 PM EST
The buzz continues to swell surrounding possible NBA trades as we get closer to the new year and the NBA trade deadline in February.
Some of that speculation has swirled heavily around certain names that can make a considerable impact to any team they are dealt to. Zach Randolph. Pau Gasol. Iman Shumpert. Omer Asik. Add to that list, as of the last few weeks: Jeremy Lin.
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Since the start of the season, Lin, who struggled mightily last year in a statistical ping-pong of a season after signing with the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2012, has since risen to the occasion, becoming one of the NBA's best sixth men off the bench. Netting 14.3 points off 49.7 percent shooting and 4.2 assists this season, Lin has become valuable for the Rockets in reserve, especially with James Harden and starting point guard Patrick Beverley dealing with injuries that have kept them out of action. Lin has been dealing with back issues and a sprained right hand, but he's due to make his return Monday in a Wild West showdown between the Rockets and state rival the Dallas Mavericks.
With Dwight Howard the only superstar available for the Rockets right now to power their offense, Houston is in need of all the help they could get and Lin, who has shown this season that he can score in bunches when called upon, will likely get his chance to do so again with several key Rockets players out of action for a while.
Yet, that has not stopped recent rumors surrounding the Rockets that Lin could be dealt away prior to the trading deadline along with the disgruntled seven-foot defensive ace center Omer Asik. Some rumors have Lin being asked about by the Brooklyn Nets. Other reports say the Los Angeles Lakers, who have Lin's ex-coach Mike D'Antoni and an ailing backcourt, expressing interest in Lin. Another scenario involved sending Lin to the Boston Celtics, who are awaiting the return of injured NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo.
The Rockets could save nearly $30 million next season if they remove Lin and Asik from the payroll by February. That could free them up for another grab at a talented crop of free agents in 2015 that include Rondo, Kyrie Irving, Brook Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and more. Any of those talents could make the already formidable Rockets into a team ready to make a serious play for the NBA championship. But whether or not the Rockets would be best served by cutting loose Lin and Asik, two valuable cogs that add depth and scoring ability to the team, is another debate.
Either way, while Asik would almost certainly see starting time wherever he may be dealt, Lin's situation becomes a little less clear. On some teams, depending on their need and, perhaps, Lin's reputation, he could be either an immediate starter or a bench role player as he has been in Houston this season. But where would Lin's talents best be utilized? And where is the most ideal situation for the fan favorite point guard from Palo Alto, Calif., to land in?
LatinosPost.com looks at those possible scenarios:
Los Angeles Lakers
When you think about what possible advantages that Lin could have as a member of the Lakers, it all comes down to two words: Mike D'Antoni.
The two made music in New York during the 2011-12 season, when Lin took the world by storm with his scintillating stretch of play in February of that time--the aptly-dubbed "Linsanity" craze-and the opportunity for a repeat performance in Los Angeles. The Lakers' backcourt is falling apart, with Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake all out on injured reserve. They could use a young point guard like Lin, 24, to step into the picture. And under D'Antoni's point guard-focused, fast break-heavy offense, Lin could thrive as he did before in New York.
Granted, Lin's numbers haven't been great with another superstar in the backcourt, as was the case with Harden in Houston, and he's got one of the all-time greats in Bryant to have to split the ball with. Not to mention, once Nash returns, it becomes the question of whether to start Lin, an improving player but who lacks Nash's experience or pedigree, or Nash, a future Hall of Famer but an aging star on the decline. D'Antoni loves Lin, however, and that could go a long way in helping Lin reach new heights as the stage gets set for the return of "Linsanity."
A return to the East Coast, and the Atlantic Division, could work well for Lin, especially if it turns out that the rebuilding Celtics are indeed looking to trade Rondo, who is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. Lin could see some decent scoring stretches if he is traded to Boston depending on how long it takes for Rondo to recover from ACL surgery.
Of course, once Rondo returns, Lin goes straight to the bench, but he could give the Celtics a lot of depth at the point guard position and a new source of offense, which they could use being ranked only No.24 out of the 30 teams in the NBA in team offense (95.0).
Could you imagine? A return to New York, the place where it all began for Lin, but playing under the banner of the team trying to take the city from the Knicks? Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov could pull the trigger on a deal there just to stick to Knicks owner James Dolan and company at Madison Square Garden. Lin has proven that he can thrive under the spotlight in the Big Apple if given a shot, and there has to be a little part of Lin that would savor the chance to really stick it to the team that let him walk in the summer of 2012.
The Nets already have a point guard: Deron Williams. One of the top five best point guards in the NBA, Williams is going to get major minutes, offense and time over Lin, meaning there's almost zero chance that Lin will start for Brooklyn unless Williams goes down with an injury. If Lin wants to get starter's minutes, then Brooklyn is not the place for him.
At least for this season, Lin would definitely start for the Bulls, who are in need of a solid point guard now that Derrick Rose is once again out for the season with a knee injury. On a defensive-oriented team, Lin's athleticism at the point and his unselfish attitude on offense could come well in handy for the Bulls, and he'll have plenty of opportunity on this offensively-challenged squad to get his share of shots. Being around the Bulls could also make Lin more aggressive on defense, which would make him a better player in the long run.
There is the chance that Lin could flounder in the Bulls' slower-paced offensive game. Lin is a point guard who loves to run the floor and thrives in a fast-paced offense like the ones under D'Antoni's Knicks or in Houston. The Bulls are the antithesis of that style, not moving the ball well and a poor team on spacing. That could be a quicksand trap that inhibits Lin's playing style instead of enhancing it.